Steam Greenlight: 15 ace games from the PC Gamer Collection
While Valve continue to work out the kinks in their promo-platform piping, we’ve pooled together our favourite picks from the Steam Greenlight community into the PC Gamer Greenlight Collection. This will certainly continue to grow, so do check back, but here’s the first fifteen to make it in: experimental puzzlers, gruesome horror yarns, frantic frag-fests, puntastic platformers, games we can’t even pronounce - and all deserving of wider recognition. Why not have a peek and let us know what other games have tickled your fancy in the comments?
The Indie Stone’s sandbox zompocalypse sees players choose how to fend for their life, and their injured wife, in a grim isometric cityscape, swarming with brain-ripping deadopaths. Fortify your dwelling with barricades, make tense sorties for vital resources, or simply smother your ailing spouse in the first few minutes and go prancing into the wilderness. It’s really about as open-ended as a game in which you will inevitably die a horrible miserable death can be.
It’s co-op Star Trek in which each player takes authority over a single ship sub-system: engineering, comms and so on, while the captain barks orders at them. It’s also totally, totally awesome - as we discovered in PC Gamer’s own intrepid adventure to distant stars. The captain’s screen is designed to be seen by all players, and vocal commands are essential - so the game only really works at LAN parties. But what a good excuse to haul your towercase round a mate’s. Fake pointy ears sold separately.
A puzzler based on the rudiments of multi-pedal locomotion, Incredipede sees you extrude boney prongs from a large, disembodied eye, then attach muscles to the prongs, attach the prongs to other prongs, and set the newly-limbed monster into shuddering, unheimlich motion. It’s a bit reminiscent of creature-building sandbox Soda Constructor but draped in a wood-cut art-style that’s gorgeous and deeply unsettling at the same time.
This sci-fi horror game could quickly be pitched as Amnesia in Space, given that your main means of survival is running and hiding. But that would probably undersell its lustrous looks, non-linear design and branching narrative. Also: the devs have plans for Oculus Rift functionality to maximise the player’s bowel-loosening terror.
A manic 2D platform-shooter - and that’s in a very literal sense, given that you can blow up most of the levels into pixelly gibs. There’s a free prototype of the game available for download from developer Free Lives’ site.
An underloved gem on iOS, this exploratory platformer by Tiger Style sees you reawaken a dormant subterranean ecosystem after being trapped in a Martian cave. It offers “action gardening” gameplay, which may not sound like the kind of thing devs who’d worked on Thief, Deus Ex, and Splinter Cell would naturally gravitate towards. And maybe that’s the point: unusual and uplifting stuff.
FRACT OSC is a first-person puzzle game about synthesisers, set in a world that the developers describe as a mix of Myst and Tron. Challenges are built around music, such as using a sequencer to manipulate a machine in dazzling neon 3D space. It includes powerful composition tools, so it's as much about creaitivity as progression. To say that Chris wants to climb inside this game would be understating it: if you ever needed to hunt Chris for his fine pelt, you could very well use FRACT OSC as bait.
Escape Goat is a brilliant (and brilliantly-named) puzzle platformer that casts you as a wrongfully accused goat attempting to escape a 16-bit fantasy dungeon. You need to figure out how to activate a series of switches to manipulate each single-screen stage to your advantage. There's a free version of the game available at playescapegoat.com until the 9th of September.
Apparently the name is Cornish. One-man outfit Hermit Games isn’t big on focus groups, we suspect. If the title’s a little inaccessible, then at least the Snake-but-in-3D concept should slip down easily, right? Well, it should. But the game is actually a frantic brain-crashing challenge - like exploring the interior of a neon Rubik’s Hypercube.
Aardman may not be indie devs, but this Shaun The Sheep spin-off game has gone lamentably uncelebrated by hardcore gamers, possibly because it’s a sequel to a browser game and pitched to a family friendly audience. This, however, is a proper desktop game and a hardy puzzler to boot, mixing up its 2D platforming conundrums with portals, gravity switches and teleportation. Also has a good line in sheep puns.
Pretty sci-fi first-person adventure The Spire tasks you with surviving in an Antarctic research base with only your wits and a crate-flinging gravity gun-style glove gadget. The latter sounds substantially more useful than the former, now that I think about it. There's not much to go on other than a smattering of shots and a trailer, but the production values on display are impressive.
Miasmata is an incredibly ambitious adventure game set on a tropical island. You're a scientist searching for a cure for his illness while trying to survive in the wilderness. The trailer shows off features like dynamic cartography, fire and searching for fresh water. You're also being hunted by a creature that looks like a cross between a giant lynx and a stag that will respond to your movements and actions and attempt to murder you accordingly. It's very impressive stuff, particularly for a two-man team who have written their entire engine from scratch. It's due out this month.
This chaotic comedy platformer has already been released and rejected by Valve once. But that shouldn’t stop you from giving it the thumbs-up and reaching the audience it deserves. Especially since if it got the OK from Valve, the devs would continue to expand the game - they’ve already issued a second “season” to people who bought the first game, free of charge. Also features: collectible hats, shark fights, beam-weapon-jumping.
A platformer set in a tie-dye interpretation of the natural world, in which you flit between four different characters, each with their own abilities. As guardians of the forest world of Helycia you must fight the forces of industrial garbage - but the devs says the game pitches itself more to the contemplative end of platformer spectrum. It also looks super, super trippy.
Misleadingly titled RPG adventure The Real Texas is actually set in The Strange Texas, a fun-house mirror held up to the Lone Star State. The developers describe it as a mash up of Legend of Zelda and Ultima VI, which belies the fact that it's also well-written and genuinely funny. It's available now for $14.95 from therealtexasgame.com, where you'll also find a trailer that's missing from the Greenlight page. Give it a look.
Tags: Steam, Valve, Indie, indie games, PC Gamer, indie game, No Time to Explain, Project Zomboid, The Indie Stone, Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator, Steam Greenlight, Incredipede, Aardman Digital, Routine, Broforce, Waking Mars, FRACT OSC, Escape Goat, qrth-phyl, Home Sheep Home 2, Miasmata, Fly'n,